General, Research, Technology

Why are young people more likely to get cancer?

At the end of August, the world was shocked by an unexpected deathstars of "Black Panther" Chadwick Boseman. Fans and friends have learned that Boseman has been secretly battling colorectal cancer (a malignant tumor of the colon) by filming several high-profile films over the previous five years. He was diagnosed when he was about 30 yearsand he died at 43. Previously, cancer was almost never found in such young people, but over the past decade, in the United States alone, the number of cancer cases among adolescents of people under 30 has grown several times. And while overall cancer deaths have declined in this age group, the incidence of some cancers, including rectal cancer, increased greatly... What's happening?

Over the past decade, the incidence of obesity-related cancers has become alarming among young adults and adolescents. The disease has not spared celebrities either.


  • 1 Why young people get cancer
  • 2 Growth rate of cancer incidence
  • 3 Types of cancer in adolescents
  • 4 Is cancer in young people different from cancer in older people?
  • 5 Cancer prevention

Why young people get cancer

Experts believe that each of these trendsthere is a reason. Teens become more likely to get cancer due to obesity, because they do not control the amount of calories consumed; at the same time, they die less often, as they have access to modern quality medical care.

Teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 39 are actually a very vulnerable population, says Kim Miller, a scientist at the American Cancer Society.

She explains that people in this age group are less likely to seek medical help. And until the mid-2000s, there was very little research looking at cancer in this age group.

Recent studies have shown that casessome cancers - such as those associated with smoking and HIV infection - are decreasing among young people. Skin cancer is also becoming less common in younger age groups. But other cancers, especially those associated with obesity, are growing alarmingly. For example, colorectal cancer is increasingly common in young people, and now doctors recommend that people begin routine screening at 45, not 50.

Obesity is also on the rise in the general population. In the United States alone, from 1999 to 2018, the number of overweight people increased from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent. 40 percent (!) Of young people aged 20 to 39 were obese in 2017 and 2018.

Obesity is the leading cause of cancer among young people

American scientists expect that in 2020 there will be a total of 89 500 cases of cancer and 9,270 deaths from him among people aged 15 to 39 years.

Cancer incidence growth rate

The researchers used data onmorbidity, mortality and survival rates in the population, obtained from the National Cancer Institute, to analyze trends and patterns of disease by age, sex, race and ethnicity.

The report showed that the incidence of cancer among young people grew by about 1 percent annually over the last decade. Meanwhile, between 2008 and 2017, the cancer mortality rate as a whole fell by 1 percent annually, with the exception of women aged 30 to 39. However, death rates from some cancers, including colorectal and endometrial cancers, have increased.

Cancer was most common in non-Hispanic whites, but non-Hispanic blacks had the highest cancer deaths.

The 1 percent increase in cancer incidence among young people is largely due to the increase in the number of women diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Many causes of cancer growth are thought to bethyroid glands are associated with changes and advances in disease detection methods, Miller says. - Thyroid cancer is found more often, but this does not necessarily mean that women have the disease earlier.

Types of cancer in adolescents

Adolescents and young people as a group tend tohave high survival rates, but insufficient data makes studying mortality trends more difficult. However, several cancers associated with obesity are more common and cause more deaths.

The burden of cancer is on everyoneyoung people are uneven. In part, the rise in rates is due to the fact that today's adolescents tend to have better access to health care and are therefore more likely to be screened for cancer early.

Today's adolescents have the opportunity to diagnose cancer earlier

There is also an increasing incidence among adolescents melanoma and testicular cancerpeople of European descent suffer greatly from.

Understand why blacksAmericans are at a higher risk of dying from cancer, difficult, but there are several notable trends. Miller cites breast cancer in women as an example. Young black women are more likely to develop breast cancer. Scientists don't know why this is so, but lack of access to adequate health care may make it even more difficult for black women to get the care they need.

Read our channel at Yandex.Zen, where we publish other interesting research.

Is cancer in young people different from cancer in older people?

Recent evidence suggests that tumors that develop in adolescents and young adults at the molecular level different from tumors in older people... A better understanding of these differences may ultimately help researchers understand the cause of these cancers and develop new treatments.

Recently, Russian scientists from the NRNU MEPhI Instituteand the First Moscow State Medical University named after I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University (Moscow State Medical University named after I.M.Sechenov) discovered a new effective method for the diagnosis and treatment of precancerous conditions of the cervix. This disease has also started to be more common among young girls.

Miller gives the example of one patient in whomAt the age of 38, stage 4 breast cancer was diagnosed after several months of back pain. She did not know the cause of her pain, and her doctor decided that she just needed to lose weight. As a result, the cancer has spread to a critical stage.

Cancer prevention

Among the recommendations for cancer prevention scientists name several things. First, listen to your body and pay attention to how it feels and changes. Secondly, get medical examinations more often. Common groin pain can end up being cancerous. And, of course, control your appetite, because, as we have seen, obesity plays a significant role in the spread of cancer among young people.